Washington, DC (BlackNews.com) — Dr. Gail C. Christopher, vice president for program strategy for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, today was awarded the 2011 “Change Agent Award” by the Schott Foundation for Public Education. Dr. Christopher was honored for her work in addressing structural racism in America, including efforts to improve education and reduce health inequities for children of color.
“We are celebrating Dr. Christopher’s commitment to ending structural inequities and improving education for our children,” said Dr. John H. Jackson, president and CEO of the Schott Foundation for Public Education. “She is dedicated to improving the quality of life for our children and ensuring they have opportunities to succeed. Her work is impacting communities across the country.”
Dr. Christopher is a nationally-recognized leader in health policy, with particular expertise and experience in the issues related to social determinants of health, health disparities and public policy issues of concern to the future of our nation.
“I’m truly honored by this recognition from the Schott Foundation,” said Dr. Christopher. “Their organization is playing a significant role in working to improve education and supporting equitable opportunities so all children receive a quality education.”
At the Kellogg Foundation, Dr. Christopher leads the foundation’s groundbreaking racial equity approach, which includes the America Healing initiative – a $75 million, five-year program that supports racial healing in communities and works to dismantle structural racism. Launched in 2010, more than 120 organizations across the country are leading community-based healing efforts among racial and ethnic groups to address historic burdens and remove barriers to opportunity. Their efforts focus on increasing opportunities for children in education, health and economic security.
“Our mission at the W. K. Kellogg Foundation is to help communities create conditions that propel vulnerable children to success,” said Dr. Christopher. “Because children of color are so disproportionately represented in low-income families and impoverished communities, realizing our mission requires addressing historic and current structural barriers to opportunity, such as exposure to environmental toxins and enrollment in under-resourced schools, which are a direct result of past policies and practices of racialization and privilege.”
Prior to joining the Kellogg Foundation, Dr. Christopher was vice president of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies’ Office of Health, Women and Families in Washington, D.C. Previously, she was guest scholar in the governance studies department at The Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., and executive director of the Institute for Government Innovation at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Mass. She has additional experience at the National Academy of Public Administration, Howard University School of Divinity, Americans All National Education Program, and Family Resource Coalition of America. She has also launched, led, and managed three public commissions.
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation, founded in 1930 by breakfast cereal pioneer Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Based in Battle Creek, Mich., WKKF engages with communities in priority places and across the country, as well as internationally, to create conditions that propel vulnerable children to realize their full potential in school, work and life.
Photo Caption: Dr. Gail C. Christopher